So it’s 11:11 in the am and I’m distracted by the constant crunch-crunch-crunch sound emitting from the kitchen bar a few feet away from me. My kiddos have made a meal of potato chips. My knee-jerk reaction is to ask, “Did you eat breakfast first?????”. Yes, at 11:11, we are sometimes eating breakfast. No early-risers in this house. My next logical question is, “Can I have one?”.
What is it about chips that make them so delicious? And how were they born? Well, I had to find out.
Q: What kind of potato chips fly?
A: Plane ones.
First of all, what is a potato chip? It’s a thin slice of potato that’s been baked, fried, or my favorite–kettle cooked– until it’s crunchy. You know the drill: we eat them plain, with dip, and they come in all kinds of crazy-good flavors from BBQ to salt-and-vinegar. I know, I know…my articles tend to be about healthy foods and ways of eating and maybe chips don’t traditionally fall into the “healthy” category. But I would venture a guess that it’s healthy for my family that I have some chips when I crave them…or else! So how did this crunchy-delicious tater come into being?
The credit belongs to England’s William Kitchiner, where chips there are called crisps, by the way. In his 1822 cookbook The Cook’s Oracle, (A bewitching title for an equally bewitching snack!) his instructions were as follows for “Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings”:
“Peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping”.
A popular story was born some years later regarding an irritated chef and dissatisfied customer. The cook’s sarcastic response to the unhappy customer’s complaint that the potato slices were too thick, was to cut the potato slices uber-thin, fry and salt them. Thus, Saratoga Chips were born. Snopes challenges the authenticity of the story. In the end, does it matter? Planet Earth is a better place for having potato chips in it.
Q: What did one potato chip say to another?
A: Let’s go for a dip!
My particular brand of choice is Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut….mmmmmmm. So the next time you’re enjoying the crunchity-goodness of whatever brand of chip you’re eating, send a quick thought of gratitude to Mr. Kitchener…or the sarcastic chef/creator of Saratoga Chips. Nom-nom-nom 🙂
CJ Heath is a mad-lover of potato chips and doesn’t care who knows about. Although she does sometimes eat them in secret so she won’t have to share with the Nerd Herd.